Bona Fide

Well it's almost 11pm on the day that comes around once every four years...
an extra day of life to live...
and we just finished eating take-out, catching up on The Voice, walking the dogs, 
taking NyQuil, and getting life in order for tomorrow.

...But I couldn't wait another second to let you all know that today- despite all previously mentioned appearances- marked a new, exciting chapter of life in Hailey-Land.

Yesterday, after countless hours of studying over the course of a few long months... 

* I passed my Broker exam! *

According to the state of Colorado...and basically the world...I am a bona fide real estate broker!

(whenever I say that word... which is probably more often than necessary, I always think of the little girls in Oh Brother Where Art Thou... "but you ain't bona fide!")

Anyway, I have been utterly consumed with jargon and text and have felt as though my brain couldn't squeeze another term in without bursting... but it all paid off, and I am so relieved to be able to move on with life! Ya know... to make time for important things like take-out and The Voice...and NyQuil. 

Having my license will not only open up doors for me in my current position, but I am on my way to what I hope will be a hugely rewarding, creatively challenging, and overall exciting career path!  If you've been along on the crazy ride I call (my) life for a while, you may remember my soul-searching journey from a few months back and how all of these plans came to fruition. If you had asked me a year ago if this was the direction I saw myself taking I would have laughed and scoffed at the thought of pant-suits and bus stops with my face on them... but despite my >>narrow<< expectations, things have fallen into place and I couldn't be happier. 

(I do, however, remain firm on my feelings towards pant suits and bus- bench ads.)

Thank you friends for your sweet, encouraging words and for being ok with all of my crazy.
... two things that won't be changin' any time soon, I hope!



.best frenz furever.

So, I've told you all before...
 ( here, here, here, here, here, here, here,and here
about our friends Sarah & Colin.

I've also told you ...well, too many times to count... about our
small army of furry chillens... 

*   *   *
But I don't believe I have ever told you about our furry chillen's favorite* friends in the whole world:

the furry chillens of Sarah & Colin... Jack & Lily!

Nor have I told you all the saddest news of the century** ... 
Jack and Lily (and their humans... though I am refusing to acknowledge this fact) 
...are moving away forever and ever and ever 
to a very distant, cold, gray, and sad place called Chicago... 
on Tuesday.

* at least according to the 1/3 of the herd that has proper socializing abilities
** no such thing as exaggeration in our pet's brains...

*   *   *
Artie did not take the news well.

but to ease the sorrow, we had an impromptu play date with all the pups at the park!

There's a smile!

And afterwards, the boys got ice cream sundaes!
(vanilla custard with peanut butter sauce and dog treats)

...and all was right again in their worlds.
But words  woofs cannot express how much our boys will miss their furry frenz, and all of their toys that seem to taste so much better than their own.

We will miss you Jack & Lily!!
We awr vury sad u r going away.
Willie sez he pawmises to be nice.

~willie-goat and artie-bear~


Friday Five:

...things you never knew you needed to know until now...
.     .     .     .     .

1.      1,334
The number of practice questions I have answered in preparation
 for my broker exam on Tuesday.

2.      45
The lowest outside temperature I've decided is acceptable at any given time. 

3.      19
 The number of episodes of Ellen currently stored on my DVR...
 oh how I long for the days of unemployment*

4.      250
The dollar amount I believe is acceptable to spend on Thai food take-out
 for the next week until I pass my exam**

5.      20
Days until we leave for Ireland!!!

**self-pity-induced extension applicable if failure to pass occurs.

x o x o
Happy weekend, freeends!


Snow day! All work, no play...

Today I woke up to find the world outside covered in a fluffy, shimmering blanket of freshly fallen snow. The streets were quiet and the sky was gray and glowing. 
I was dressed and ready for work, squeezing in an hour of studying before I had to get on the road when my boss called and declared a national* snow day!

Saucer Sledding Champion, '09**

*only according to me.
** ditto.

Well, I changed into sweats and a baggy t-shirt and promptly sat back down at the dining table to study (so disciplined, right?)

... and alas, that is where I have remained for the past 8 hours straight....
In case you are new to the exciting world of Hailey, I am preparing to take the tests to get my real estate broker's license. I have already completed 168 hours of class-time (in 6 weeks, while working = insanity) and am scheduled for the 2.5hour test sesh next Tuesday. I am in full-blown cram-mode... and am off to a 4-hour study session with students from my class tonight until 9:30pm.

Heavens to Betsy, I'm in need of some strennnth!

Ah, but since it's Thrifty Thursday, and I am in no position to exercise my unilateral contractual agreement option (them's real estate words)  let me tell you about a good friend of mine, Schmaco Schmell...
er... no comment? I plead the fifth.

Well,  now I must go swap out my sweats for something more... ehhh, forget it.
I hope you are all enjoying your lovely snow day Thursday!

**Have a favorite recipe that would be perfect for Thrifty Thursdays?? I'd love to host guest-bloggers throughout the next few weeks as the dust glitter settles around here! **
email me: haileyfynaardt {at} gmail {dot} com 


Monday's Music to My Ears: Hiding My Heart...

I feel kinda sorry for Mondays...

always taking such a beating: being blamed for marking the end of the weekend and the abrupt return to reality, week after week of having bitterness and exhaustion heaped upon them... what's a day to do?

If you are finding yourself grumbling and stumbling your way through the Monday blues, I am so glad that a) you came by to visit Coastal Heart, Country Soul and b) that I've got just the trick for cheering you up... a little music to my ears to brighten your afternoon.

Hiding My Heart Away - Adele (Brandi Carlile cover)

Speaking of Adele... Did you hear about her rupturing her vocal chord last year? She had surgery in November and couldn't speak for weeks, but apparently, she's back to singing and is going to be touring this year! Thank goodness, I love this girl!
Check out the interview she did with Spinner a few years ago at the start of her career!
. . .
This morning I did a little blog- Spring cleaning with a design overhaul- new header, photos, lil' layout changes... take a peak around as you listen, and let me know what you think!
This girl's off to spend a few more hours studying (my broker exam is next Tuesday!), keep house a bit, run some errands, and do a little eyebrow-deforestation. 

Have a beautiful Monday, friends!


Thrifty Thursdays: valentine picnic!

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's day!

We certainly did; celebrating with our third-annual-living- room -picnic-and-a movie... Complete with a viewing of Lady and the Tramp and an entire (large) coffee-table's worth of delicious food.

I'd love to say that building a pillows-and-blankets retreat on the living room floor is a regular event in our house but due to certain logistics (or three furry pups that think anything near the floor is fair game... including using our faces as props for their toys)... it tends to be an annual, yet special, event.

We put our picnic together for around $45, but nothing really beats a mellow evening in with the loves~ no need to wait for next year, toss some pillows on the floor and head to the store to plan your own impromptu picnic tonight!

The menu:
Cheese and ciabatta platter: Brie, Irish cheddar, and Robusto (remember those little cheese "samples" I mentioned before?)

Mixed olives, berries and melon, turkish figs, chocolate covered cherries, heirloom tomato slices, crackers (WF bulk aisle and, salad bar, and fresh olive bar)

Spinach salad with strawberries, almonds, goat cheese, and honey-soy-and lemon dressing

Dressing: 1tsp honey, 1tsp water warmed in micro. for 15 seconds. Mix in 1tsp soy sauce, 1tsp olive oil, spritz of lemon juice, pepper, and a little salt. Mix well.

Lemon, Brussels sprouts, and Porcini pizza, inspired by miss Martha Stewart! This is so simple and delicious we made it twice in one week!

We used a store-bought thin crust plain crust. Top with olive oil, garlic powder, and herbs to your liking. Layer mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Chop a few dried porcinis and soak in water to soften for a few mins, then place on pizza. Follow with sliced Brussels sprouts and paper-thin fresh lemon shavings. Top with a sprinkle of cheese and pine nuts. Bake according to pizza crust directions or 12-15 mins at 425 til sprouts and lemon are slightly crispy on edges and cheese is golden.

Wine: we tried Baker's Dozen "Jammy" Pino Noir... It was good, very smooth with strong cherry/raspberry flavors but a bit sweeter than we usually prefer. It was perfect with the fruity flavors of this meal but I would probably save it for dessert or drink it alone (... As in without food, not as in alone-alone... well, that would be fine too I suppose...) I would give it a try if you're easing into red wine or if you prefer sweeter varieties. Also, it is very mellow on the alcohol-content, no headache or next-day regrets here! Plus, it was $6 at Target. Hollah.

My jammy husband

For dessert we had deliciously pink strawberry rice pudding, inspired by a Whole Foods recipe, I just added more coconut milk (a whole can) and did 3c milk, 3c water, and a little more sugar.
Dan liked it warm, I prefer mine cold but it's seriously delish either way, and the recipe makes plenty for left-overs. Unfortunately none of my photos turned out... Maybe that wine was pretty good after all?... But it's so yummy, and practically makes itself, there's no excuse to not make this tonight :)

Hope you're all inspired to plan a "spontaneous" floor picnic with your sweets, all your own! If you do, please share photos, I'd love to see all your fun ideas.

Happy Thursday, pretty thangs!

The pups loved Lady and the Tramp too,
...Willie barked through most of it, of course. 


The Sweetest Thing

...is not written on the cover of a card.
...is not hiding inside of a heart-shaped box
...is not looking forward to an extravagant evening out tonight

The sweetest thing about Valentine's Day is waking up next to the love of my life,  whispering good morning,  feeling him kiss my cheek goodbye, and hearing him leave for work while it is still dark out...

...only to return minutes later with...

{{ a delicious grande non-fat white chocolate mocha with whip }}

May your Valentine's Day bring you sweet, quiet reminders of love 
wherever you are!

x o x o


Mondays Music To My Ears: Read You & Me!!

I am particularly excited this morning to share with you all a very special edition of Monday's Music To My Ears, featuring Denver rock band: Read You & Me!

These guys are not only incredibly talented musicians, they are also followers of Christ committed to sharing their unique stories of faith through their music. Their name was inspired by a quote from DL Moody that says, "Where one man reads the bible, a hundred read you and me". 

They formed in 2004, but nothing could have prepared them for the amazing journey they've recently embarked upon: as the official band for the Heaven is for Real international book tour! 

Meet the guys! Check out this short video of the making of their 2011 EP!

Seriously, if you don't listen to them here & now, you'll be hearing them on the radio or maybe even on the soundtrack of the MOVIE sometime next year! Take the time to check out some of their songs, and even share the link to their page if you can. 

My favorite songs at the moment are "Stolen", "In The Night", 
and "When Everything Breaks"
Heck... listen to them simply so when they're super famous I can say "Hey! I know them!" (kidding!) 

(We're friends with Brando, who shreds on guitar, and his brother Jeff, is currently travelling with the band as their Tour Manager, getting to know the incredible family behind the book, and sharing their music with thousands of new fans around the world. Please keep them all in your prayers!)

Click here to Listen to their CD for free!

"You need to listen to this"- RY&M



Few things in this world can remedy an aching body, overwhelmed mind, and heavy soul (earlier this week) like a long, hot soak in the tub. There's something about sinking into the water, bubbles swirling around until clinging like tiny, therapeutic magnets to the curves of sore muscles, that makes the body feel light and the stress of the day seem worlds away. I, like many of you I'm sure, rarely carve out time for such indulgence but once emerging, my skin flushed and steaming yet noticeably lighter, I can't deny the utter necessity of this time of personal healing.

I know for some, the thought of laying motionless in a confined reservoir makes you anxious and impatient... you would much rather "escape" the day through physical exertion or a social outing, but I have been a sucker for at-home spa pampering since I was a young girl. Bubbles, candles, music, even home-made "products" to complete the event. 
One of the best gifts I ever received was a book of at-home beauty recipes when I was around 13. It was a slumber-party hit as my friends and I smeared smushed banana masks on our faces and used lemon & chamomile to add "highlights" to our hair. I still have it and I decided to flip through it this morning to see if there was anything I could concoct to add to my impromptu spa day. The result was a mix of ingredients I pulled from various recipes for a hair mask and rinse...I was so delighted by the result I thought I would share my ideas with you... in case you are inspired to fill the tub with bubbles and empty your mind of the stresses of this world over the weekend! (I sure hope you are)

Avocado, Almond Oil, & Ginger hair mask:
1/2 an overripe avocado, mushed to puree
1 tbsp almond oil
1 tsp ground ginger powder
- Mix together thoroughly in a bowl. Smooth onto wet hair and let sit for 15-20 minutes. The ginger stimulates your scalp so a slightly tingly feeling is normal... and wonderful. Rinse well.

Rosemary, Mint, & Baking Soda rinse:
1-2 drops mint extract (you don't want to smell like a pack of gum all day!)
1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary tied in a cheesecloth sachet/ in a tea infuser 
(you can even use 2 minty-flavored tea bags)
1tsp baking soda
4 cups hot water 
I'd recommend using a large but lightweight measuring or mixing bowl with a pour spout

- Add mint, rosemary, and baking soda to hot water, let sit while the mask is on your hair. Once ready for the rinse, give the water a stir (baking soda will likely settle on the bottom), remove the rosemary sachet, and pour the warm water over your hair a cup at a time, working through.  

- Finally, rinse with fresh, lukewarm water to rinse completely. The baking soda will help prevent oil buildup from the mask, but make sure you rinse it all out or your hair will feel gritty.

If you're in the market for a luxurious soak, these are my faves:

... and no spa day would be complete without a perfect playlist:
A mix of a few of my favorite A Fine Frenzy songs.

Have a wonderful weekend
xo hailey xo


bitter fruit.

This is not a happy post; one I hoped to never write, but also something that has been heavy on my heart for some time now and something I hope to look back on, read, and be able to say it had a happy ending.

I got back last night from a whirlwind of a trip to visit my one and only grandma at her new "home" in Arkansas. She has been living with my aunt for a year and a half, since a stroke and series of surgeries rendered her unable to live alone and forced her to make the heartbreaking decision to leave behind the legacy she had built over six decades in Redondo Beach, California. My mom had warned me that her health had steeply deteriorated in the short time since she moved and I knew I wanted to visit her as soon as possible before it grew worse. I packed my carry-on and boarded the plane Thursday morning, unsure what to expect, but by Saturday night I had seen enough. As my mom and I sat on the floor of the guest room, opening still-sealed boxes of my Grandma's belongings that had been withheld from her reach; unwrapping photos that had once been crowded onto her living room bookcase, souvenirs from her trips around the world, and even her college degree- which she earned around age 50- it occurred to me that I had not yet heard her laugh once the entire weekend. 

My Grandma is truly the most incredible and inspiring woman I have ever known. She taught me to work hard, respect myself, follow my dreams, never stop learning, and "find things everyday that make me happy". She is the glue that has held my circus of a family together over the years and the most generous and kind-hearted person you'll ever know. Her laugh is infectious and she filled the room with her presence, always thriving in the spotlight and in social activities. If you saw this woman's resume, of things she accomplished in the second-half of her life alone, you would be amazing. But over the course of a few short days, watching my Grandma stare blankly out a window and cling to her walker, was like watching a mere shell of who I always knew her to be. Yes, she requires greater medical attention and her mind is increasingly distant but not hearing her laugh, not seeing the sparkle in her sea-blue eyes, broke me in half. 

Later that same night, when I finally went downstairs to brush my teeth, I saw that the light was on in her bedroom so my mom and I decided to make sure everything was alright. She was fine, just having trouble staying asleep, so she had gotten up and turned on the radio. We brought in a binder we had found in one of the boxes of her things; it was a biography that my brother had written about her- "his hero"- while he was in high school. I asked if she remembered him writing this for her and she said "Oh yes! I remember he sat there and wrote and I just talked and talked". She read a page and a half out loud, stopping intermittently to add details about stories, people, places, and things as she recalled them. She didn't even use her glasses to read. She smiled, she laughed... my mom and I both cried. Poor Grandma couldn't figure out why but she just patted my leg and said "love you, honey". Around 1:30am, we asked her if she was getting sleepy from reading and she perked up, tapped her finger on the page and said "Oh no, now I'm all excited! This is fun!" 
I listened to her laugh, tell me stories from her past; ones that I had heard countless times before and also for the first time it seemed. I looked around her new room, so different from the 700 sq. ft condo by the beach she called home for the past two decades. Some things I recognized: her leather arm chair, her oak china cabinet, her pet bird "Baby" that I helped her pick out at the petshop years ago... but everything else was... different. Her pictures weren't on the walls (which turned out to be a much bigger issue than I thought), her chotchkes weren't on her shelves, and it didn't even smell like my grandma's house (hard to explain, but you know how the way a person or place smells can trigger all sorts of memories). It was hard for me to all digest. Things have changed and I don't think I like it. 

The next morning, we were packed and getting ready to fly home when the straw broke the sad little camel's back... one request to hang my Grandma's pictures on her walls turned into a full-fledged family feud. I'll spare details, but I was absolutely shocked to discover how much bitterness, jealousy, and anger certain family members had been harboring for not only years, but decades... lifetimes really. The floodgates swung open and all of the ugliness that has been hiding behind sarcastic and smug attitudes was exposed. Family sure can bring out the best and worst in people... especially when it's fueled by delusions of something as sinister as money (money and family are like oil and water in my mind... the two never mix). 
What truly breaks my heart is that my Grandma's life, her incredible legacy, has boiled down to numbers on a page in the eyes some of those she loves. It's hard when there's nothing you can do but hug and kiss her goodbye, promise to see her soon, plan to write and call as often as possible, and hope that an answer will come so that she can live her last thriving years in peace, surrounded by the love of the relationships near and far that she has nurtured throughout her life. 

My heart is still heavy, filled with bitterness, and I am angry, yet I feel somewhat helpless as I wait and see what happens next. While certain things seem out of my control for now, I can certainly promise to love my one and only Grandma with all my heart and give the best that I can to my family, my marriage, my home, my friends, and my job - that's what she always did and taught me to do.